This Creamy Polenta is the Italian version of grits. Simmered until thick, then finished off with butter and Parmesan cheese, this dish is pure comfort food and a wonderful base for many dinners!
Polenta is a common Italian side dish that can be served for breakfast (like porridge) or dinner (like mashed potatoes). It's creamy and delicious! Made with only a few pantry staples, this polenta is truly comfort food.
If you want it more creamy, add more water or even milk. If you want it thicker, use less liquid. You can also pour it into a rimmed baking pan and let it set, then cut and fry in butter. It's so tasty!
- yellow cornmeal
- Parmesan cheese
How to make Creamy Polenta?
- Start by bringing water to a boil in a 3 to 5 qt pot.
- Add salt and stir.
- Slowly add cornmeal, stirring well until the mixture thickens.
- Lower the heat and simmer polenta for about 30 minutes. Add more water if needed.
- Once cooked, add butter and cheese. Stir in to melt.
How to serve polenta?
This creamy polenta can be served as a side dish for dinner or for breakfast with topping you would typically use with oatmeal (dried fruit, nuts, etc). For dinner, I like to serve it with grilled shrimp, beef ragu, pasta sauce with meat, sauteed mushrooms, spinach, etc.
Can I make it ahead of time?
For the best texture, prepare polenta and serve right away. Once it cools and sits, it will set almost solid. You can then slice it and fry it in a pan.
How can I cook polenta faster?
If you don't want to stand by the stove, you can soak the cornmeal with half of the water overnight. Then transfer everything into a pot, bring to boil and cook, adding the remaining water.
Can I make it vegan?
Absolutely! Use olive oil in place of butter and add nutritional yeast for that cheesy flavor.
More side dish recipes:
- Skillet Cornbread
- Dirty Rice
- Lyonnaise Potatoes
- Fried Cabbage
- Creamed Corn
- Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
- Cheese Sauce
For more recipes like this one, feel free to browse our Side Dish category.
If you like this recipe and make it, snap a photo and share it on INSTAGRAM! Tag me @crunchycreamysweet so I can check it out and leave a comment!
Creamy Polenta Recipe
- 5 cups of water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Pour water into a 3 to 5 qt pot and bring to a boil over medium heat.5 cups of water
- Once it boils, add salt and stir.1 teaspoon salt
- Slowly add cornmeal, stirring well until the mixture thickens, with a whisk or wooden spoon.1 cup yellow cornmeal
- Lower the heat and simmer polenta for about 30 minutes, stirring often so it won't burn on the bottom of the pot. Add more water if needed.
- Once cooked, add butter and cheese. Stir in to melt.2 tablespoons unsalted butter, ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
To make it vegan, use olive oil in place of butter and add nutritional yeast for that cheesy flavor.
Please note, that the nutrition value can vary depending on what product you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use calorie counter you are familiar with.